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Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 299, Issue 8, pp 1433–1441 | Cite as

Nectar ecology of Datura ferox (Solanaceae): an invasive weed with nocturnal flowers in agro-ecosystems from central Argentina

  • Carolina Torres
  • Mariana Mimosa
  • Leonardo Galetto
Original Article

Abstract

Plant–pollinator interactions provide highly important ecological functions, and are influenced by floral nectar characteristics. The night blooming Datura ferox is an excellent model to test general hypotheses on the relationship between nectar traits (e.g., nectar secretion patterns, nectar chemical composition), pollinators and reproductive success for invasive, weedy species in highly modified ecosystems as crop fields. We hypothesized an adjustment between nectar composition and secretion dynamics through flower anthesis and the activity and requirements of nocturnal pollinators. Nectar chemical analyses showed low quantities of amino acids and lipids, phenolics, and alkaloids were not detected. D. ferox showed sucrose-dominant nectar with comparable amount of hexoses. Sugar proportions did not vary between populations or during flowering season. Most nectar is secreted before flower opening. Nectar resorption was detected at the end of anthesis. Experimentally drained flowers of both populations increased nectar production up to 50 % in the total amount of sugar per flower compared to control flowers. Nectar standing crop was relatively constant during the flowering season, but differences were detected between populations. Nectar traits of D. ferox would be favoring cross-pollination and maintaining seed production of this weed, since recently open flowers display a higher amount of nectar and they can renew nectar after a pollinator visit or reabsorb it at the end of anthesis. This nectar source may be important for native pollinators considering that human-induced forest fragmentation is related with the impoverishment of native flora from agro-ecosystems.

Keywords

Nectar production Nectar sugar composition Hawkmoth pollination Weed reproduction 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank two anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and comments that improved early versions of this paper, agronomic crop producers for field facilities, Julia Galetto for text editing and English advice, Academia Nacional de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) for fellowships to the first author. The study was supported by CONICET and Secretaría de Ciencia y Tecnología de la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. LG and CT are members of Carrera del Investigador from CONICET.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolina Torres
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mariana Mimosa
    • 2
  • Leonardo Galetto
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Diversidad Biológica y Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de CórdobaCórdobaArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal (CONICET-UNC)CórdobaArgentina

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